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Presentations 101

Presentations can be a powerful way to communicate and share information with an audience. Whether you’re giving a sales pitch, delivering a lecture, or presenting research findings, having the right resources is key to making your presentation stand out.

On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about creating great presentations – from different types of presentations to best practices for delivering them. Click on a topic below to read common subtopics within.

The goal of a presentation

So you’ve already spent hours researching, looking for the best images and videos, and have come up with a great presentation. Now it’s time to deliver. Except you’ve added in just a bit too much information, leaving your audience feeling overwhelmed or confused.

The goal of a presentation is to make sure everyone in the room understands what you’re trying to say in an enjoyable and engaging way. That’s why it’s important to consider how best to present the material before making your slides.

Generally speaking, the goal of any presentation should leave the audience with 1-3 key takeaways. The number of takeaways will vary based on YOUR individual goal, is this a business or classroom setting? Giving your audience next steps in a business setting may have higher financial stakes than a classroom setting so your call-to-action at the end may be different.

Types of presentations

There are many types of presentations, each its own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the presentation elements used, the format and design of your presentation can vary greatly.

PowerPoint Presentation: PowerPoints are the most common type of presentation, used for both professional and classroom contexts. PowerPoint presentations use slides to organize information which can include text, images, and videos.

Multimedia Presentations: Multimedia presentations mix different types of media (such as audio/video) to create a more engaging experience. They are often used for marketing or public speaking engagements, where creativity is key.

Poster Presentations: Poster presentations are usually used in academic settings and involve displaying a physical poster that contains graphical elements, text, images, and videos. The goal of a poster presentation is to present information quickly and clearly.

Keynote Presentations: Keynote presentations are similar to PowerPoint in that they involve slides, however they also tend to have more complex design than a regular PowerPoint. They’re great for professional and academic settings.

how to prepare

When preparing for a presentation, it’s important to take the time to plan ahead and make sure that your content is organized, clear, visual, and engaging. Here are some tips on how to prepare:

1. Know Your Audience: Knowing who you’re presenting to will help you tailor the content of your presentation accordingly. Are you speaking to a professional audience or an academic one?

2. Do Your Research: Knowing what type of information is already out there and how it aligns with what you’re trying to present is key. This will help ensure that the information you’re presenting isn’t outdated or misinformed.

3. Establish Structure: Once you have the content, make sure to organize it in a way that follows a logical progression. Break down your presentation into sections and use visuals like graphs or images to help illustrate concepts.

4. Practice Makes Perfect: Your slides are only part of the equation. It’s important to practice your presentation beforehand in order to be comfortable with speaking in front of an audience and confident about leading the conversation.

presentation templates

Not a designer? That’s okay! Presentation templates can help you create a professional-looking presentation without needing any design experience. Quite often, PPT templates come with an easy drag and drop replacement feature. This allows you to quickly add a text box, image, or other element to your slide and customize it to fit your style.

Aren’t sure about presentation design-theory?

That’s also okay, the majority of templates these days come with perfect layouts so as long as you’re not reordering or restructuring the design too much it will still look great.


Unlike full presentation templates, themes are collections of styles that you can apply to slides with one click. This is great for adding a unique look and feel to your presentation without the need for design experience. Themes are often included in professional PowerPoint templates, but you can also find them as standalone items.

Theme templates will often control the color scheme, font styles and sizes, header/footer styles, background images or colors, and more. With themes you can quickly customize your presentation without having to worry about the nitty gritty details of design.

presentation FAQs:

extras: graphic elements

Using something like vector-design images or even high resolution stock photos is a great way to go. The quality of your images can make or break your presentation. Items like icons or HD videos are a great supplement to paragraphs of text as (most likely) you will also be speaking during the presentation.

how to start a presentation?

Wondering how to kick off a presentation? An effective presentation begins with a memorable introduction that captures the audience’s attention and sets the tone for what’s to come. You can start by sharing a story, introducing a concept, or posing an interesting question about your topic. Just make sure to be engaging and let your personality shine through.

Once you know how to start a presentation, it’s important to focus on the structure. Presentations should have clear objectives and follow an organized flow from one point to another. Take advantage of breaks in your content by using visuals or interactive activities to maintain engagement.

Don’t forget about practice! Make sure to rehearse your presentation before you deliver it for real.

duration of a presentation

What’s the best length of a presentation? Well, when it comes to presentation duration there’s no hard and fast rule. It really depends on the content you’re presenting and the audience you’re speaking to. If you’ve found yourself in a classroom setting, a 20 minute pitch on why the moon landing was a hoax would be too long.

On the other hand, if you’re giving a keynote address on the importance of space exploration for your company’s business strategy, 30 minutes may not be enough time to cover all the topics. The best way to figure out presentation length is by doing some research about the audience and content ahead of time.

zoom presentations

If you’re using a videorecording software like Zoom, your options are even wider. You can now easily share your screen with a live audience or record yourself giving a presentation in one way or another.

For the best results, make sure to use high-quality visuals and interactive activities such as polls or Q&A sessions to keep engagement levels up throughout the video. Additionally, you can also use this platform to record your presentation and put it up on YouTube or other streaming services for future viewing.

how much text to include?

When creating a presentation, whether using Powerpoint or another pitching software, it’s important to remember that not every slide needs to contain a lot of text. In fact, it’s best to strive for minimalism and use visuals like diagrams, graphs, or images whenever possible. This will help make your presentation easier to follow and more engaging for the audience.

presentation software

Popular presentation software like Powerpoint or Keynote are great choices for creating presentations. These provide a range of options that you can use to create slides and visuals with backgrounds, animations, transitions, images and more.

That’s it! When it comes to creating a presentation there’s no one-size-fits all approach. Remember that preparation is key

presentations for teachers

Oftentimes, if you’ve found yourself looking for help with presentations, you may be in a teaching environment. In this case, the best way to create an effective presentation is by breaking up your content into bite-size chunks and including visuals whenever possible. This will make it easier for students to understand and absorb the material more quickly.

It’s also important to keep your slides simple. Using a free tool like Google slides, or if your organization has it Powerpoint, can help you quickly customize your presentation without having to worry about the nitty gritty details of design.

Sometimes simply getting the basics down is all that matter.


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